At Alma Bella Academy, our mission is to provide a nurturing and inclusive environment for beautiful souls through education, art, and community where students can thrive academically and artistically. We are dedicated to fostering a dynamic learning center that empowers students to reach their full potential.
Our vision at Alma Bella Academy is to be a beacon of academic and artistic excellence, creating a brighter future for our students. We envision a world where every child, regardless of their background or abilities, has the opportunity to flourish and develop their full potential.
Our journey began in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. At that time, Dr. Graves, a dedicated public school teacher with 25 years of experience, observed her middle school students facing unprecedented challenges. Academically, socially, and emotionally, they were falling behind. Through countless conversations with her students about their needs, the seeds of Alma Bella Academy began to germinate.
Her students expressed a desire for a place outside the confines of school, free from an excess of rules, where they could reconnect with friends, receive academic support, and engage in activities that were anything but "boring." Dr. Graves' mother, an artist, taught her art to calm her mind as a child. Dr. Graves now believed art could also offer the same benefits to her students. Over the next few months, Dr. Graves became convinced that her students and community needed a safe and nurturing environment where creativity could thrive, academics could be reinforced, and friendships could grow.
She identified a location near her middle school, arranged a lease, and rallied her community to support this cause for her students. When it came time to christen her Academy, she turned to her students for inspiration. A Hispanic student asked for a meaningful name and inquired about the essence of teaching to Dr. Graves. She described her 25-year journey of teaching beautiful souls, and the student said "beautiful souls" translates to "Alma Bella," in his language and thus Alma Bella Academy was born.
Right from the outset, Dr. Graves was committed to providing the Academy's services to all members of her community, regardless of their financial circumstances. She initiated the creation of a non-profit foundation to further this mission. In the interim, she covered the costs for students facing financial hardships. To this day, Alma Bella Academy maintains a 100% scholarship fulfillment rate for anyone eager to attend but currently facing financial difficulties.
The current programs at Alma Bella Academy encompass an afterschool enrichment program where students learn organization and study skills, receive academic guidance, and engage in various art projects, including painting, pottery, sewing, and jewelry making, all within a technology-free environment. The Academy also hosts a vibrant Summer Camp with themed weeks, combining academic, STEAM, art, team-building, and physical activities to expand students' horizons.
Understanding the value of real-life experiences, Alma Bella Academy invested in a bus to take students on enlightening field trips throughout the state. These trips include visits to historic sites, hikes, beach outings, apple-picking excursions, and other activities designed to broaden their perspectives.
Moreover, the Academy believes in educating the whole child, focusing on their mind, body, and spirit. To that end, they offer a non-denominational Bible Study once a week. This program centers around the word of the Lord, providing students with study sheets, Bible verses, and accompanying crafts to reinforce the lessons.
At Alma Bella Academy, we understand the fundamental importance of meeting the basic needs of our students. Recognizing that hunger can be a barrier to learning and personal growth, we are committed to ensuring that no student goes without a meal while they are at our academy. We provide nourishment, not only for their bodies but also for their minds, fostering an environment where every student has the opportunity to thrive and succeed.
The Academy and its Foundation work hand in hand to provide these vital services to the community. Generous donations from community partners have enabled them to offer these services to young people, but their scope extends beyond youth. The Academy also provides adult women's Bible Study and serves adults with intellectual disabilities and provides memory care for older people.
We are grateful for your time reading our story, and we invite you to consider joining us as a community partner on this meaningful journey.